SPECIALIZING IN YOU
A True Man
STEVE RUSSELL’S INDUCTION INTO THE ARKANSAS INSURANCE HALL OF FAME
insurance industry professionals who exemplify innovation, social responsibility, leadership, and professional excellence.” They seek out those who have had a lasting impact on the insurance field and Arkansas as a whole. Since even before Steve founded First Arkansas Insurance in 1987, he was a staple in the Arkansas insurance community, working in the industry for 41 years before recently stepping back to focus all of his attention on his individual clients here at Risk Services. “Steve possessed a unique ability to not only lead and manage one of Arkansas’ most successful independent commercial insurance agencies,” wrote former Arkansas Commissioner of Insurance Jay Bradford in the nominating document, “but while doing so being the leading producer consistently!” Steve is known for his philanthropic spirit as well, serving in Rotary International and supporting numerous nonprofit charities throughout the years, from CareLink and Alzheimer’s Arkansas to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, to name just a few. “He’s a true man of character,” added INSURICA CEO Mike Ross in the nomination document. He “always showed that he put others first, ahead of himself. Numerous times over the
Before Risk Services of Arkansas INSURICA was what it is today, it was called First Arkansas Insurance of Little Rock. I took the reins from its founder, Steve Russell, in January of 2016. Soon after, as I’ve said in the newsletter before, Steve became an important mentor to me. He guided me through the transition process and equipped me with the tools to ensure Risk Services would continue to be the business I’d envisioned, serving our clients, the community, and our team with sincere dedication and exemplary services. This month, I’m proud to be able to say that Steve is being inducted into the Arkansas Insurance Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor in our industry that he unquestionably deserves. Besides being a great guy and a true insurance professional, Steve embodies an ideal of humility that is so important — and rare — within the business world today. He’s an incredibly successful man, both personally and professionally, but I’ve never seen him show even a hint of arrogance or pretentiousness. Rather, he consistently looks for the best ways to respectfully serve his clients and community at every turn. The Arkansas Insurance Hall of Fame, as they put it, “seeks to identify and honor distinguished
I’ve never met anyone as enmeshed in both their industry and their
community as Steve has been throughout his many years in business in Little Rock.
years, I received unsolicited compliments from top insurance carrier executives about Steve, his character, and his way of doing business.” I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Steve, a true model citizen within Arkansas and the insurance field at large, for the past couple of years. I’ve never met anyone as enmeshed in both their industry and their community as Steve has been throughout his many years in business in Little Rock. I only hope that I can continue his legacy in Little Rock and uphold the standard of excellence he’s set for such a long time.
– Brad Johnson
President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs For Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1
IS THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE
the Negative Physical Effects of Your Desk Job
“We’re sitting ourselves to death!”
Dr. James Levins of the National Institutes of Health made headlines when he announced, after 15 years of research, that “sitting is the new smoking.” Dr. Levine determined sitting for prolonged hours leads to obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and can increase the likelihood of developing certain forms of cancer. To many people, the answer was clear: Just stand up! Standing desks have become all the rage as office workers everywhere switch from sitting in one place all day to standing in one place all day. And the benefits have been … almost imperceptible. While you do burn more calories standing than you do sitting, the fact remains you’re still not moving. Keeping your body in the same position for hours is what leads to all of those health risks Dr. Levins warns about, whether you sit or stand. It would be more accurate to say sedentary is the new smoking. Now, don’t think you can erase the damage from being sedentary at work by hitting the gym when you clock out. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that, among individuals who spend most of their day in a sedentary position, those who engaged in regular physical activity were only 30 percent less likely to die from sedentary-related health problems than those who didn’t exercise at all. So, what are we supposed to do? Seventy percent of Americans have jobs that require them to remain confined to a desk. If switching to a career that keeps you up and moving all day isn’t a possibility, how can we cure our sedentary problems? The answer isn’t standing; it’s moving. Human beings are meant to be up and moving around! That’s why staying still all day hurts us so much. A desk job doesn’t have to destroy your health. If you need to send an IM or a brief email, walk over and deliver the message in person instead. Take phone calls while walking around or, better yet, conduct meetings while on a walk outside. Even periodic desk exercises can be beneficial. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you sit or stand. Make sure to move around at least once an hour to avoid serious damage to your health.
History’s Most Bizarre Tragedy?
By the time the last flame of the Great Chicago Fire fizzled out on October 10, 1871, 300 people were dead, a third of Chicago’s population was homeless, and 4 square miles of city were destroyed. Reflecting on the disaster begs the question: Was it the most bizarre tragedy ever? By October, 1871, Chicago only had 1 inch of rain all year, which is far less than the annual average of 35 inches. While the exact cause is unclear, historians commonly accept that a cow belonging to a Mrs. O’Leary started the fire in a barn on DeKoven Street by kicking over a lantern. Firemen responded immediately, but a watchman sent them to the wrong place by mistake, giving the unusual Southwest winds time to send the fire roaring toward the heart of the city. Most of Chicago’s buildings were made of wood, and the newly developed tar on the rooftops was incredibly flammable. As the fire grew, the firefighters hoped the Chicago River would be a natural firebreak, but the city’s riverside had recently gained more lumber and coal yards, causing the fire to jump the river. As the air over the city overheated, it came into contact with cooler air, and a spinning fire tornado developed. After the fire jumped the river, a burning piece of timber lodged on the roof of the city’s waterworks building, destroying it and halting the city’s water supply. By the time the fire died over a day later, 73 miles of roads and $4 billion (in 2017 dollars) of property were destroyed. All this came about because of a cow, a drought, a bad watchman, some short-lived building materials, and a literal fire tornado. Modern safeguards wouldn’t allow this to happen today, which is very fortunate. If the disaster happened the same way today, it wouldn’t displace 1,000 people; it would displace 1 million.
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How to Keep Employees Happy
and Increase Profits A Joyful Workplace The environment you create is another huge factor in limiting the churn of employees. If employees love coming to work every day, they will be hesitant to leave. Finding a great atmosphere is hard, and employees won’t sacrifice it for the unknown. How do you go about creating this type of workplace? Well, dreary and anonymous is the wrong way to go. Employees should feel like they can bring their personality to the job and not be worried about looking over their shoulder constantly. Ted Mathas, head of insurance giant New York Life, notes, “When I was appointed CEO, my biggest concern was, would this [job] allow me to truly say what I think? I needed to be myself to do a good job. Everybody does.” If you acknowledge wins and create an enticing, inclusive company culture, you’ll notice the mood of your staff lift. Nobody wants to work at a place that makes them dread the sound of their alarm in the morning. Don’t be afraid to ask employees what they need. It’s better to find out before their exit interview — when it’s already too late.
Every entrepreneur shares the fear of losing their best people. Hiring the right employees is difficult and expensive. Replacing a valuable team member is even harder. Limiting turnover won’t just benefit your company culture and productivity; it will help raise your company’s bottom line. For all these reasons, you should consistently seek out ways to keep your employees happy, motivated, and committed. Obviously, competitive pay and benefits are a must when it comes to retaining your top talent. You could be the best boss in the world, but if you’re not willing to pay the market average in your area, your employees will go somewhere that does. That said, there are many other motivators that you can offer that won’t raise costs to an unsustainable extent. Lead, Acknowledge, Inspire “The best way to motivate is to lead by example and encourage creativity,” says Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company. If you’re a passionate, engaged boss, your staff will recognize your effort. Challenging your team to innovate and giving them credit for their ideas will make them feel supported and acknowledged. If an employee wants to help improve your business, empower them to take charge. When a team member feels like they contribute, they are much more likely to be satisfied with their work. Those skeletons and cobwebs adorning every inch of your neighborhood can only mean one thing: Halloween season is here. Learn a little about the spookiest of seasons with a few fun Halloween facts. •Scholars can’t agree on its exact origins, but Halloween probably came from the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which used to mark the transition from harvest season to the start of winter. Fun Halloween Facts
• Trick-or-treating, however, originates frommedieval times. An old custom called “souling” used to be prevalent around fall, in which “soul cakes” were given out to peasants.
The name Halloween actually comes from “All Hallows’ Eve” or “All Saint’s Eve,” a holy Christian day preceding November 1. According to a survey by Fortune magazine, Americans spend as much as $8.4 billion on Halloween
candy, costumes, and decorations. That’s a lot of candy corn!
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INSIDE This Issue
Steve Russell: A True Man of Character page 1
Is This the Most Bizarre Tragedy in History? Can a Desk Job Be Part of a Healthy Lifestyle? page 2 Make More Money With Happy Employees Fun Halloween Facts Sudoku page 3
Insight Into Nike’s Success page 4
‘Shoe Dog’ Gives Insight
INTO NIKE’S SUCCESS
its brilliance from the get-go, but that’s not what happened. When an art student came up with the design — for the meager price of $35 — Knight’s response was, “It’ll have to do.” That’s not to say that Knight isn’t a visionary in many ways. In the early days of Nike, Knight hustled to an extreme degree. Even when he was selling track shoes out of his trunk, his belief never wavered. Signing Michael Jordan in 1984 revolutionized not just the athletic shoe industry, but celebrity sponsorship in general. He surrounded himself with smart, capable people, expanded sensibly, and never lost sight of his vision. If you want a book that gives you simple, cliché takeaways about how to become massively successful, “Shoe Dog” is not the book for you. If, instead, you crave what Bill Gates calls an “honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like,” then you should check it out. With a personal perspective, suspense, and more than a few wild anecdotes, “Shoe Dog” soars in a way few business books manage to. But, then again, that’s what Knight’s shoes have always promised to help athletes do.
“We wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.” –Phil Knight When an entrepreneur or company becomes massively successful, it’s easy to construct a narrative that makes that success seem like destiny. They look back on the past with rose-colored glasses, interpreting every decision as a stepping stone on their way to eventual victory. Of course, real success stories are never this linear. Honest accounts of what it takes to dominate an industry are hard to come by, which makes Nike CEO Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” a refreshing change of pace from the standard business memoir. If there’s one word that best describes “Shoe Dog,” it’s “candid.” Knight gives equal space to his successes, failings, and insecurities. He also isn’t afraid to admit when luck was the deciding factor. Take the story of the famous Nike swoosh, for example. These days, it’s universally regarded as one of the greatest logos ever conceived. Knight could easily claim that he saw
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